And the offense gets a B-plus as Russell Wilson continues to show he’s a legit candidate for NFL MVP in the 24-10 win over Philadelphia.
The way Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson saw it, any assessment of the Seahawks’ performance in Sunday’s 24-10 win over the Eagles should be so glittering as to almost be blinding.
“Can’t play much better than how we played tonight,’’ Wilson said after Seattle beat the team that came into the game with the best record in the NFL, leading the league in points scored and third in points allowed.
The Eagles put up some yards — 425 — the second-most allowed by Seattle this season.
But a few came late and many others came in drives when the Seahawks made the critical plays to keep the Eagles out of the end zone.
Offensively, Seattle was as efficient as it’s been in taking advantage of its chances. Only four of nine full drives made it past midfield. But on those four the Seahawks scored three touchdowns and a field goal.
“It was a really great step forward for us,’’ coach Pete Carroll said of a team that had lost its last two home games and needed a win to move back into playoff position in the NFC.
The Russell Wilson for MVP hype train picked up a lot of steam on a night when he simply made play after play after play to spark the Seattle offense.
Wilson was 20 of 31 for 227 yards and three touchdown while also running six times for 31 yards. His most artful play didn’t show up in his stats. His flip to Mike Davis to complete a 23-yard gain on a third-and-eight play set up Seattle’s final touchdown.
“I thought that was Russell showing you everything that he’s all about,’’ Carroll said. “From start to finish, from the first play, he was on it.’’
Seattle’s receiving corps also had one of its best nights of the season with nary a drop (we’re not counting Paul Richardson’s in-traffic almost grab in the third quarter) and constant beating of the Eagles in man coverage typified by Doug Baldwin’s 47-yard catch to set up a third-quarter touchdown that came when the Eagles blitzed and left Baldwin covered by Eagles safety Rodney McLeod.
Tight end Jimmy Graham continues to produce in the red zone with his eighth touchdown in the last nine games and Tyler Lockett got his first TD of the season.
The offensive line had one of its better games considering the pedigree of the opponent. Carroll said he thinks the left side with tackle Duane Brown and guard Luke Joeckel is beginning to solidify things.
“We felt the movement all night long,’’ Carroll said.
While the running game was a little erratic, credit Davis for some of the headiest and hardest running of any Seattle tailback all season a performance that likely has earned him the starting role until Chris Carson comes back.
What a performance by a secondary that seemed hardly to miss Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor.
True, the Eagles hit some plays — and Carson Wentz seemed to just miss a couple of throws early that might have changed things.
But the Seahawks got two big fourth-down stops in the second half — one forced by a well-timed blitz by linebacker K.J. Wright — and a few third-down stops in the first half.
This was by far the best game for Bradley McDougald, who is filling in for Chancellor, as he had 12 tackles including a key third-down stop early in the game that was downright Chancellor-esque and good coverage on tight end Zach Ertz.
Frank Clark provided some pressure early, including a third-down sack of Wentz in the first quarter and then another in the fourth quarter and now has seven on the season.
Byron Maxwell, getting the start at left cornerback, made one of the key plays in the first half with an open-field tackle of Jay Ajayi on third down to force a field goal midway through the second quarter and came up with a fourth-quarter interception that provided some fitting revenge against a team that traded him in 2016 after just one season.
Bobby Wagner also was everywhere in keying a run defense that held the Eagles to just 98 yards rushing. The Eagles entered the game averaging 147.5.
The Eagles had only seven yards on seven carries in the second half after getting chewed out at halftime when Philly had 91 on 19.
“They really jumped at it in the locker room at halftime to shore that up,’’ Carroll said.
And then there was Sheldon Richardson’s strip of Wentz in the third quarter that might have been the biggest play of all.
Another night of solid coverage and decent kicking helped result in the Eagles beginning three of four drives in the first half inside their 20.
Blair Walsh had a 46-yard field goal to cap Seattle’s first possession and give the Seahawks a lead they would never relinquish.